Australia Quarantine Respiratory Disease Not Horse Flu, Vet Says

A number of imported horses at Australia's Eastern Creek Quarantine Station are showing signs of equine herpesvirus type-4 (EHV-4), reported Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer, Andy Carroll, BVSc (hons), MSc, Phd, Cert QA Aud.

EHV-4, a respiratory form of herpesvirus, is endemic in Australia. It is not a notifiable disease and is not a quarantine concern, but is has been circulating within Eastern Creek.

All outbreaks of any infectious disease in quarantined horses must be investigated. Because these horses have respiratory signs, all the horses have been repeatedly and thoroughly tested. No horse has tested positive to equine influenza virus, but one horse had a mild serological reaction, which is not unusual as all the horses have been vaccinated against influenza. All horses will all be tested repeatedly to make absolutely sure there is no equine influenza circulating before they are released from quarantine.

These horses are more than two weeks into their three-week post arrival quarantine. This quarantine period will be prolonged to ensure all additional testing and other measures show the horses do not have equine influenza, and all the experts are satisfied there is no risk.

These horses currently present no danger to Australia's domesticated horses, said a statement from the Australian Horse Industry Council.

An outbreak of equine influenza in Australia in 2007 infected 47,000 horses on 5,943 New South Wales properties. The state government spent more than $50 million eradicating the disease.

Disclaimer: Seek the advice of a qualified veterinarian before proceeding with any diagnosis, treatment, or therapy.